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Not To Be Forgotten: The Outrageous Esquerita!

Posted January 11, 2017 by | 1 Comment

We lost some colorful and influential musical artists in 2016–David Bowie, Prince, George Michael. On the other hand, Boy George & Culture Club are still performing, and they blew a lot of minds at their Hollywood Bowl shows this past summer. Little Richard is also still around, but we haven’t heard much from him lately. All these artists have been both genre and gender-bending. Then there …

Featured, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

KBCA 105.1 FM: A Slice of L.A. Radio History

Posted January 2, 2017 by | 4 Comments
KBCA reel-to-reel tape decks

I got a call from a jazz-loving friend the other day, and in the course of conversation, we discovered that we were both weaned in our jazz love by a commercial jazz station, KBCA 105.1, back in the 1960’s. It’s hard to believe that there was once a jazz station that would use John Coltrane’s song “Spiritual” as a morning drive-time theme, but it’s true. …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Three New Jazz Gems

Posted December 28, 2016 by | 4 Comments

I haven’t had a chance to feature new releases in a while and want to sing the praises of three new albums before the year ends. The first is guitarist Yotam Silberstein‘s The Village. The Tel Aviv native moved to New York in 2005 after receiving a scholarship to the New School. His latest album features a great rhythm section: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Reuben Rogers plays …

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Thomas Edison’s Favorite Invention: The Phonograph

Posted December 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Just the other day, I heard one of the earliest popular recorded sambas, Donga’s “Pelo Telefone,” from 1916 and released on an Edison talking record, probably a wax cylinder. A few years later the “OKeh Laughing Record” (which featured a man and a woman laughing uncontrollably – an absurdist hit if there ever was one) was released on a 78 rpm disc. Thanks to Thomas Edison’s invention …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Middle East, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP, world music »

Remembering Samir Hachem and His Gift of Arabic Music

Posted December 14, 2016 by | 0 Comments

During my “Morning Becomes Eclectic” days, I used to invite many guest hosts to come in and share their musical knowledge. Charlie Haden was the most frequent visitor, bringing in sweeping classical albums as well as old-timey mountain music that he grew up with in Missouri. Don Cohen, a busy attorney and passionate fadista–follower of Portugal’s great fado music–turned me onto Amalia Rodrigues, Carlos do …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Music History, music phenomena »

Sarah Vaughan: How Different Lyrics Were in the 50’s

Posted December 12, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I recently pulled out my copy of a classic 1950’s Emarcy recording of Sarah Vaughan‘s called Sassy. Most of the 12 songs portray true love as hopeless, women as doormats, and romance as fantasy and idealizing. Of course, this was before our more enlightened–and also cynical–age, pre-dating the feminist movement.
In the 1950’s, colleges offered majors in homemaking, and there were young women going to school for a …

African, Featured, Headline, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #188: Cuban Classics–A Personal Selection Part 2

Posted December 9, 2016 by | 1 Comment

We feature another playlist of Cuban classics this week, but first please forgive me for not including some of your favorites. There’s no way I can do everybody justice!
Let’s start with the great bass player Israel “Cachao” Lopez, a guy who practically invented the mambo and who joined the Havana Philharmonic at just 16. Cachao plays a great little three minute classic …

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Miles Davis’s Landmark LP “Miles Ahead”: Enduring Fascination & Beauty

Posted December 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments

I recently pulled out my new-ish audiophile copy of Miles Davis‘s great 1957 LP with the Gil Evans orchestra, Miles Ahead. I’ve listened to this album a zillion times, yet I hear something new almost each and every time I put it on the turntable. I’ve worn out an older copy of the LP, and now enjoy a great mono recording.
I know the work well, and have …

Featured, Headline, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #187: Cuban Classics–A Personal Selection Part 1

Posted December 2, 2016 by | 0 Comments

With Fidel’s passing I wanted to play some Cuban music I really love. This is a personal selection, and if you’re wondering why there’s no Buena Vista Social Club, Cachao, or Gloria Estefan, we’ll have a sequel next week with more sizzling Cuban music.
We start with a Coca-Cola commercial from 1952. The beverage giant was a player on Cuban soil back …

Featured, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Cuban Music: Wonderful but Complicated by Politics!

Posted November 30, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Cuba is such a musical country, and it’s hard to find a Havana street that doesn’t have music coming out of a storefront. The rich brew of Cuban music consists of African rhythms, Spanish décima poetry that dates back to the 16th century, American jazz, plus other ingredients that together provide synergy, power, and flavor. The many styles of Cuban music include mambo, timba, bolero, guaracha, rumba, contradanza, trova, classical, danzón, son …

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